Nomfundo Mthembu, an exceptional matric top achiever hailing from Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal, faced not only the challenges of academic rigor but also unfounded accusations from her peers. Despite the adversity, her commitment and sacrifices have propelled her to remarkable achievements.
Having decided to enhance her educational journey, Nomfundo made the bold choice to rent a back room closer to her school, Nkosi Ntulakabayise High School. This decision was fueled by her recognition that time was a precious commodity, and the long travel from her home was a hindrance to her studies.
Her daily routine reflected her dedication—starting school at 6:30 AM and concluding at 14:30, followed by a brief period of rest and nourishment, and then immersing herself in her books for an uninterrupted four-hour study session.
Nomfundo’s commitment to her studies paid off when she received the unexpected news that she was among the top 30 National Senior Certificate achievers in the country, a remarkable feat considering the vast pool of over 800,000 learners who participated in the matric exams.
Speaking to Zimoja, Nomfundo expressed her astonishment, saying, “I still can’t believe it, but I know and am confident that I am deserving because I put in the work and took responsibility for my own life.”
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Despite her impressive achievements, Nomfundo faced adversity in the form of baseless rumors. She shared how her peers at school accused her of using muthi (traditional medicine) and witchcraft to attain her stellar grades.
These hurtful comments were particularly disheartening for Nomfundo, who had sacrificed sleep and endured sleepless nights in pursuit of her academic goals. Fortunately, she found unwavering support from her mother and uncle, who encouraged her to ignore the noise and stay focused on her future.
Nomfundo’s determination and resilience have not only made her a top achiever but also a role model for overcoming obstacles. Looking ahead, she aspires to pursue a career in medicine and has taken a step toward that goal by applying to the University of Cape Town. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of hard work, perseverance, and a strong support system in the face of challenges.